RWENZURURU cultural leader, has launched a commemorative tree-planting campaign in the Rwenzori region, with the planting of more that 1,200 tree seedlings at a royal forest at Rukoki, the district headquarters.
Omusinga Charles Wesley Mumbere, Irema-Ngoma launched the campaign by planting a bark tree and an acacia tree at Rukoki, the district headquarters Monday.
He commended the Kasese District Local Government leadership under rev Canon Julius Kithaghenda, the district chairman, for donating the land.
He said global warming devastating the snow-capped Rwenzori and other areas in the country, which required intensified tree planting in the region.
According to Uganda Wildlife Authority Executive Director, Moses Mapesa, snows and glaciers are receding at a rate of 0.7 Km2 per decade due to increase in temperature rising at a rate of 0.50 C per decade.
“At this rate the snows in the Rwenzoris could disappear in 2025,” Mapesa told The New Vision yesterday.
In his brief to the Omusinga earlier, the District forestry Officer, William Wilberforce Bwambale, said forest cover accounted for only 5,972 hectares or 1.7% of the total district land area of over 3,300 sq kms.
“We in the Rwenzori region should be proud of our good geography that enables us to plant our crops.
“With many trees widely planted in the Rwenzori region, we cannot easily suffer like other areas,” he said.
“I thank President Museveni for restoring kingdoms; they can help government to mobilise the population for to engage in development,” he said.
“Cultural leaders should respect and cooperate with Museveni because it took him a lot of effort to convince his tot government officers to accept the idea of restoring kingdom in this country,” he said.
Kingdoms were abolished in 1966 during the first Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) government led by former president Dr Milton Obote.
They were restored by the article 246 of the 1995 Uganda Constitution but since then the Obusinga is yet to be recognised on 19th October.
Presiding at Church of Uganda South Rwenzori Diocesan donors' conference and 25th founding anniversary August 30th, the President announced that that he had agreed to recognise the long-awaited Obusinga Bwa Rwenzururu and that he would attend the Obusinga 43rd anniversary.
Mumbere hailed the President for having amicably addressed the recent Buganda riots in which several people died and property worth billions of property destroyed.
He pledged that once restored, the Obusinga Bwa Rwenzururu is determined to support government and urged the Banya Rwenzururu to appreciate President Museveni’s efforts to have the kingdoms restored.
“I assure you RDCs who are here that the people of the Rwenzori will support the NRM government,” he said attracting applause from the audience.
The gathering included Rwenzururu Prime Minister, Constantine Bwambale and the security minister, Thembo Kitsumbire and civil servants led by the Chief Administrative Officer, Giles Kahika.
Mumbere added, “I am not an NRM but I can see that Museveni is handling things well. I hope that when it comes to giving, Yoweri Museveni deserves to be given,” he said but did not explain.
He recalled that when he was still living in America, the NRM government used to facilitate his flight into and out of Uganda and provide him with state house security during his tour of the Rwenzori region.
He said that despite the disagreements with defence minister Dr Kiyonga over the Obusinga, the too used to have top discussion meetings to iron out their differences.
“We discovered that without the two of us interfacing, we were leading the Rwenzori nowhere,” he said.
Now Kiyonga is doing more of my spokesperson’s job and even doing more foreign affairs advocacy than God Frey Kabyanga (the official Obusinga spokesperson).
Mumbere’s announcement exited RDCs Barnabas Bamusede Bwambale (Masaka), David Masereka (Nakasongola) and Captain James (Kasese), who were present at the function.
Captain Mwesigye hailed the Omusinga for spearheading the environmental campaign said it was in line with government’s conservation programmes.
The district chairman pledged the district’s support to the campaign and urged all the people in the region to emulate the Omusinga, who had earlier knelt down in the dust to plant trees at the function.